This film is part of Free

A Pencil and Alick P.F. Ritchie

More chalk-talker than pencil-pusher, this popular artist recreates his cartoons for the screen with flashes of added animation.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1915 7 mins Silent


Behold the wonder of the magic pencil! OK, the special effects are more Thunderbirds than Gravity, but the real delight of this film is the fluid line of an artist with a gift for the comic, caricature portrait. Yes, you can see the faint guidelines that his lightning sketches follow, and the actual animation is limited. But the detail and character achieved mainly with thick chalk is astonishing.

Alick P.F. Ritchie was a Scottish-born commercial artist and cartoonist whose work frequently appeared in Vanity Fair, as well as on posters and cigarette cards. The 'chalk-talk' was a popular music hall act and Ritchie seems a familiar performer in the form. Here he explores the potential of stop-motion animation to develop the chalk-talk, though Ritchie only seems to have dabbled in filmmaking, with a short-lived series, Alick Ritchie's Frightful Sketches, the same year.